Professor Ray Siemens

Professor Ray Siemens

Global Innovation Chair - Digital Humanities

Office PVC - Human and Social Futures

Looking to the past to understand the future

Professor Ray Siemens is an international leader in digital humanities, a field that combines computing technologies with traditional humanities topics.

image of Ray Siemens

“Professor Ray Siemens is the Global Innovation Chair in Digital Humanities at the University of Newcastle. He is an acknowledged leader in the digital humanities, a field of study concerned with bringing computing technologies and methods to traditional pursuits and activities of the humanities and its core disciplines. We welcome his leadership in the development of research and evidence-based translational practice and policy in the growing field and area of research strength that is digital humanities.” Professor Catharine Coleborne, Head of the School of Humanities and Social Science.

Siemens directs the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) at his home University, the University of Victoria in Canada, and works in collaboration with its strong research and administrative team. The ETCL engages in cross-disciplinary studyof the past, present, and future of textual communication and is a hub for digital humanities activities across the University of Victoria (UVic) campus, from coast to coast, and around the world. With a mandate including research, teaching, and service activities, the ETCL is an intellectual centre for the activities of some twenty local faculty, staff, and students as well as visiting scholars (over 60 since inception), who work closely with research centres, libraries, academic departments, and projects locally, regionally, and internationally.

“We’re understanding the future of professional reading and engagement through its past. Earlier in this work, we focused on devices like iPads and Playbooks – really, any device you can read on electronically and work to understand them and what might be coming next through the lens of what we already know about the past and how people have communicated through reading and writing,” Professor Siemens said. “Currently, we’re working with open social scholarship, exploring and understanding how we engage with each other in knowledge environments, as academic specialists as well as engaged members of society at large.  In this work, the past is valuable preface to the present and future; here, we are building bridges between the past and the future. To understand our present and our future, best, we have to have the foundation of the past clearly understood.”

Siemens has led a variety of large-scale complex digital humanities research projects. One of those is the $2.5 million Implementing New Knowledge Environments project. INKE began as a seven-year program of research funded by a Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) grant (2009-2016), which focused on researching, exploring, and prototyping contemporary reading tools and online environments. Distributed nationally and internationally, INKE’s program of research also provided training and development opportunities for staff, faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students across various institutions. The large project involved more than 35 researchers, 21 partners, 19 postdoctoral fellows and 50 graduate research assistants. Growing from these roots, the earlier research and development program evolved into the INKE Partnership: a collaborative, interdisciplinary network that brings together respected scholars, partners, and stakeholders in research and dissemination processes. The INKE Partnership’s primary objective is to foster open social scholarship in Canada.

“Together, the project team has worked to adopt varied approaches and methods including proof-of-concept prototyping, critical design, tool building, and electronic publishing to engage in world-leading research, and to build community among groups impacted by that work,” he said.

Siemens is also a Director of Iter, a not-for-profit online bibliography for Renaissance studies. “Iter is a partnership dedicated to the advancement of learning in the study and teaching of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700) through the development and distribution of online resources,” Professor Siemens said.

The literature of the Renaissance

In the field of literary studies his research interests lie in Tudor poetry and Renaissance literature. Professor Siemens’ earlier contributions include much-cited articles on the critical engagement of early poet John Milton (Cambridge Companion) and award-winning Canadian authors (Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada) encouraging new inquiry in these areas.  His original contribution to our understanding of Renaissance literary history, his scholarly edition of The Lyrics of Henry VIII Manuscript(published by the Renaissance English Society), makes available for the first time lyrics of a young Henry VIII in a form suitable for scholars and students and yields important insight into early Tudor poetic and political culture.

Siemens is also the founding editor of the electronic scholarly journal Early Modern Literary Studies: A Journal of Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century English Literature, the first publication in Renaissance studies internationally to take advantage of the potential offer to academic publishing by the electronic medium.

He has authored numerous articles on the intersection of literary studies and computational methods and is the co-editor of several book collections on humanities computing topics, among them Blackwell's Companion to Digital Humanities (with Susan Schreibman and John Unsworth), the Blackwell Companion to Digital Literary Studies (with Susan Schreibman), and MLA's Literary Studies in the Digital Age (with Ken Price).

Siemens suggests that “the basis of the electronic scholarly edition and e-books more generally can be seen to be algorithmic in nature, drawing on the notion that computational methods allow us to organise and navigate materials related to our discipline in new and more effective ways.”

From computer games to humanities computing

Professor Siemens interests in computing started in high school when he undertook a course that involved video game programming.

“When I got to university there were courses to take that nicely flowed from gaming in high school into a more university-oriented curriculum,” he said.

Very early on in his university education Professor Siemens realised he could use many means beyond close reading to help understand the literature that he was engaged in.

“I did graduate work at a number of places, all of which had nascent programmes in digital humanities, then called humanities computing, or computational literary studies.”

Siemens entered the field at a time when significant computational moments were occurring. While termed at IBM in Toronto in the mid-eighties he was tasked with revising the manual for the fledgling internet.

“They gave me this big pile of books and said, ‘OK, it's your job to revise these. It's called Telecommunication Protocol / Internet Protocol’. And I said, ‘What's that?’ They said ‘Well, we call it the Internet for short.’ That was my job: to revise the manual for the thing that would blow wide open by 1989,” Professor Siemens recalled.

Defining digital humanities

Professor Siemens’ work has seen disciplinary, theoretical, pedagogical, and practical interventions involving adaptation and repurposing of digital tools, and further original research and interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, in the areas of data harvesting, textual content analysis, document encoding application and conversion, and dissemination / communication / social-engagement models and mechanisms.

“Humanities is this vibrant set of disciplines and sub-disciplines that look at the nature of the human experience over time via the representation of that experience in its material manifestations,” he said. “In digital humanities we consider computation or the digital, itself, as a grouping of methods, approaches, technologies, and tools that are themselves dynamically and continually changing.”

“There’s this assumption that the humanities are staid and fixed, but of course, nothing could be further from the truth. By adding digital to the humanities we can make new discoveries about how people read, wrote and communicated in the past. We can then apply these discoveries to our future in a meaningful way.”

“For me that eureka-moment is understanding that digital humanities is in fact, more a process than any fixed thing. Not all fields are like that, I think that makes digital humanities really exciting.”

Professor Siemens says the core values he believes in regarding digital humanities are: community, method, and (inter)disciplinary self-determination.

“With the digital humanities we can remediate old worlds and existing material artefacts as well as create new ones with the technologies we use. I believe in embracing and enlarging scope, privileging diversity within that embrace, and focusing on both professional and public outreach and engagement.”

image of Ray Siemens

Looking to the past to understand the future

Professor Ray Siemens is an international leader in digital humanities, a field that combines computing technologies with traditional humanities topics.“Professor Ray Siemens is the Global Innovation Chair in Digital Humanities at the University of Newcastle. He is an acknowledged leader…

Read more

Career Summary

Biography

Ray Siemens is Global Innovation Chair in Digital Humanities at the University of Newcastle. As well as digital humanities, his research interests include early Tudor poetry and Renaissance literature, book history, scholarly editing, pedagogy, and scholarly communication. 

At his home University, the University of Victoria in Canada, Siemens directs the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, the Implementing New Knowledge Environments Project, and the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. He has served as Chair of the international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations, Vice-President / Director (Research Dissemination) of the Canadian Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences, President (English) of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities, Chair of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on Scholarly Editions and of its Committee on Information Technology; he currently serves on SSHRC Council.

His work in digital humanities has seen disciplinary, theoretical, pedagogical, and practical interventions involving adaptation and repurposing of digital tools, and further original research and interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, in the areas of data harvesting, textual content analysis, document encoding application and conversion, and dissemination / communication / social-engagement models and mechanisms.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia - Canada

Keywords

  • Book History
  • Digital Humanities
  • Renaissance Literature

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
460101 Applications in arts and humanities 33
461007 Open access 33
470504 British and Irish literature 34

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Global Innovation Chair - Digital Humanities University of Newcastle
Office PVC - Human and Social Futures
Australia
Global Innovation Chair - Digital Humanities University of Newcastle
Office PVC - Human and Social Futures
Australia
Edit

Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Book (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Crompton C, Lane RJ, Siemens R, Doing More Digital Humanities Open Approaches to Creation, Growth, and Development, 333 (2020)
2020 Towards an Integrated Digital Environment for Early Modern Studies: A Report of the Renaissance Knowledge Network Group (2017), Iter, Toronto (2020)
2015 Schreibman S, Siemens RR, Unsworth J, A New Companion to Digital Humanities (2015)

This highly-anticipated volume has been extensively revised to reflect changes in technology, digital humanities methods and practices, and institutional culture surrounding the v... [more]

This highly-anticipated volume has been extensively revised to reflect changes in technology, digital humanities methods and practices, and institutional culture surrounding the valuation and publication of digital scholarship. A fully revised edition of a celebrated reference work, offering the most comprehensive and up-to-date collection of research currently available in this rapidly evolving discipline. Includes new articles addressing topical and provocative issues and ideas such as retro computing, desktop fabrication, gender dynamics, and globalization. Brings together a global team of authors who are pioneers of innovative research in the digital humanities. Accessibly structured into five sections exploring infrastructures, creation, analysis, dissemination, and the future of digital humanities. Surveys the past, present, and future of the field, offering essential research for anyone interested in better understanding the theory, methods, and application of the digital humanities

DOI 10.1002/9781118680605
Citations Scopus - 46
2013 Siemens R, Schreibman S, A Companion to Digital Literary Studies (2013)

This Companion offers an extensive examination of how new technologies are changing the nature of literary studies, from scholarly editing and literary criticism, to interactive f... [more]

This Companion offers an extensive examination of how new technologies are changing the nature of literary studies, from scholarly editing and literary criticism, to interactive fiction and immersive environments. A complete overview exploring the application of computing in literary studies. Includes the seminal writings from the field. Focuses on methods and perspectives, new genres, formatting issues, and best practices for digital preservation. Explores the new genres of hypertext literature, installations, gaming, and web blogs. The Appendix serves as an annotated bibliography.

DOI 10.1002/9781405177504
Citations Scopus - 16
2010 Siemens R, Foreword: Imagining the manuscript and printed book in a digital age (2010)
2007 Schreibman S, Siemens R, Unsworth J, The Digital Humanities and Humanities Computing: An Introduction (2007)
DOI 10.1002/9780470999875
Citations Scopus - 29
Show 3 more books

Chapter (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Siemens R, 'Part Deux: Exploring the Signs of Abandonment of Online Digital Humanities Projects', Social Knowledge Creation in the Humanities Volume 2, Iter Press, Unknown (2021)
2020 Siemens R, 'Digital Critical Enterprise in the Process of Cultural Creation', Digital Humanities for Literary Studies Methods, Tools, and Practices, Texas A & M University Press, Texas (2020)
2019 Siemens R, 'Introduction', Doing More Digital Humanities Open Approaches to Creation, Growth, and Development, Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon (2019)
2012 Siemens R, Dobson T, Ruecker S, Cunningham R, Galey A, Warwick C, et al., 'Human-computer interface/interaction and the book: A consultation-derived perspective on foundational e-book research', Collaborative Research in the Digital Humanities 163-189 (2012)
Citations Scopus - 4
Show 1 more chapter

Journal article (15 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Flanders J, Siemens R, 'Considering the scholarly edition in the digital age: an engagement by the modern language association s committee on scholarly editions', International Journal of Digital Humanities, 1 323-324 (2021)
DOI 10.1007/s42803-019-00026-4
2021 El Khatib R, Arbuckle A, Winter C, Siemens R, 'Open social scholarship in action', Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, 36 i15-i22 (2021)
DOI 10.1093/llc/fqaa033
2021 Siemens R, El Khatib R, Arbuckle A, Siemens L, Winter C, 'An "Open Lab?" The Electronic Textual Cultures Lab in the Evolving Digital Humanities Landscape', Digital Humanities Quarterly, 14 (2021)
2020 Siemens R, Arbuckle A, Hendery R, Meneses L, 'Introduction: Open Scholarship in the 21st Century', POP. Public. Open. Participatory., 2 (2020)
DOI 10.48404/pop.2020.01
2020 Siemens R, Winter C, Fontenot T, Meneses L, Arbuckle A, 'Foundations for the Canadian Humanities and Social Sciences Commons', Pop! Public. Open. Participatory., 2 (2020)
DOI 10.48404/POP.2020.05
2014 Crompton C, Powell D, Arbuckle A, Siemens R, Shirley M, 'Building a social edition of the devonshire manuscript', Renaissance and Reformation, 37 131-156 (2014)

This article describes the context and development of A Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript, a collaboratively created Wikibook edition of the sixteenth-century verse misc... [more]

This article describes the context and development of A Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript, a collaboratively created Wikibook edition of the sixteenth-century verse miscellany known as the Devonshire Manuscript (BL MS Add. 17,492). This project began in 2001 when Dr. Ray Siemens led a group of researchers in an exploration of how to create a digital edition of the Devonshire Manuscript. Since then, the project has transitioned through many forms and formats, and A Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript is the most recent output of these academic experiments. Of note, a print version of A Social Edition of the Devonshire Manuscript is forthcoming from Iter and Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS).

Citations Scopus - 1
2012 Siemens R, Timney M, Leitch C, Koolen C, Garnett A, 'Toward modeling the social edition: An approach to understanding the electronic scholarly edition in the context of new and emerging social media', Literary and Linguistic Computing, 27 445-461 (2012)

This article explores building blocks in extant and emerging social media toward the possibilities they offer to the scholarly edition in electronic form, positing that we are wit... [more]

This article explores building blocks in extant and emerging social media toward the possibilities they offer to the scholarly edition in electronic form, positing that we are witnessing the nascent stages of a new 'social' edition existing at the intersection of social media and digital editing. Beginning with a typological formulation of electronic scholarly editions, activities common to humanities scholars who engage with texts as expert readers are considered, noting that many methods of engagement both reflect the interrelated nature of long-standing professional reading strategies and are social in nature; extending this frame work, the next steps in the scholarly edition's development in its incorporation of social media functionality reflect the importance of traditional humanistic activities and workflows, and include collaboration, incorporating contributions by its readers and re-visioning the role of the editor away from that of ultimate authority and more toward that of facilitator of reader involvement. Intended to provide a 'toolkit' for academic consideration, this discussion of the emerging social edition points to new methods of textual engagement in digital literary studies and is accompanied by two integral, detailed appendices, published in Digital Humanities Quarterly under the title 'Pertinent discussions toward modeling the social edition: Annotated bibliographies' (http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/6/1/000111/000111.html): one addressing issues pertinent to online reading and interaction, and another on social networking tools. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ALLC.

DOI 10.1093/llc/fqs013
Citations Scopus - 17
2008 Unsworth J, Siemens R, 'Introduction', Literary and Linguistic Computing, 23 249-251 (2008)
DOI 10.1093/llc/fqn025
2008 Galey A, Siemens R, 'Introduction: Reinventing Shakespeare in the digital humanities', Shakespeare, 4 201-207 (2008)
DOI 10.1080/17450910802295062
Citations Scopus - 1
2002 Siemens RG, 'A new computer-assisted literary criticism?', Computers and the Humanities, 36 259-267 (2002)

If there is such a thing as a new computer-assisted literary criticism, its expression lies in a model that is as broad-based as that presented in John Smith's seminal articl... [more]

If there is such a thing as a new computer-assisted literary criticism, its expression lies in a model that is as broad-based as that presented in John Smith's seminal article, "Computer Criticism," and is as encompassing of the discipline of literary studies as it is tied to the evolving nature of the electronic literary text that lies at the heart of its intersection with computing. It is the desire to establish the parameters of such a model for the interaction between literary studies and humanities computing - for a model of the new computer-assisted literary criticism - that gave rise to the papers in this collection and to the several conference panel-presentations and discussions that, in their print form, these papers represent. © 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

DOI 10.1023/A:1016134426453
Citations Scopus - 6
2002 Siemens RG, 'A new computer-assisted literary criticism?', Language Resources and Evaluation, 36 259-267 (2002)

If there is such a thing as a new computer-assisted literary criticism, its expression lies in a model that is as broad-based as that presented in John Smith's seminal articl... [more]

If there is such a thing as a new computer-assisted literary criticism, its expression lies in a model that is as broad-based as that presented in John Smith's seminal article, "Computer Criticism," and is as encompassing of the discipline of literary studies as it is tied to the evolving nature of the electronic literary text that lies at the heart of its intersection with computing. It is the desire to establish the parameters of such a model for the interaction between literary studies and humanities computing - for a model of the new computer-assisted literary criticism - that gave rise to the papers in this collection and to the several conference panel-presentations and discussions that, in their print form, these papers represent. © 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

El Khatib R, Arbuckle A, Siemens R, 'Foundations for On-Campus Open Social Scholarship Activities', KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, 3 3-3
DOI 10.5334/kula.14
Milligan S, Silk K, Arbuckle A, Siemens R, 'The Initial Impact of the Open Scholarship Policy Observatory', KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, 3 16-16
DOI 10.5334/kula.43
Meneses L, Arbuckle A, Lopez H, Moa B, Furuta R, Siemens R, 'Aligning Social Media Indicators with the Documents in an Open Access Repository', KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, 3 19-19
DOI 10.5334/kula.44
Arbuckle A, Meneses L, Siemens R, 'Introduction,
DOI 10.5334/kula.55
Show 12 more journal articles

Conference (3 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2010 Siemens R, Meloni J, 'Implementing New Knowledge Environments: Building upon research foundations to understand books and reading in the digital age', International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Proceedings (2010)

In this paper, we present an overview of the first year work and plans for the second year work of the INKE (Implementing New Knowledge Environments) research group, a large inter... [more]

In this paper, we present an overview of the first year work and plans for the second year work of the INKE (Implementing New Knowledge Environments) research group, a large international, interdisciplinary research team studying reading and texts, both digital and printed, as part of a seven-year project. The INKE team is comprised of researchers and stakeholders at the forefronts of fields relating to textual studies, user experience, interface design, and information management. We aim to contribute to the development of new digital information and knowledge environments that build on past textual practices. We discuss our research questions, methods, aims and research objectives, the rationale behind our work and its expected significance - specifically as it pertains to our first year goals of laying a research foundation for this endeavour - and the concrete steps to be undertaken in our second year of the project. © 2010 ACM.

DOI 10.1145/1871854.1871864
2010 Patterson S, Stokes-Bennett D, Siemens R, Nahachewsky J, 'Enacting change: A study of the implementation of e-readers and an online library in two Canadian high school classrooms', LIBER Quarterly (2010)

In this paper the authors discuss their interdisciplinary pilot project entitled 'Teaching for the 21st Century: A Pilot Project on E-Reading with SD62' that engaged in ... [more]

In this paper the authors discuss their interdisciplinary pilot project entitled 'Teaching for the 21st Century: A Pilot Project on E-Reading with SD62' that engaged in the development and implementation of a customized and purposespecific online library for two selected high school classrooms at a time when such systems did not exist for this purpose. This project combined (1) information literacy issues, (2) pedagogy and e-pedagogy, and (3) computational modeling activities founded on a productive confluence of these perspectives all situated at the intersection of pertinent theories and practices pertaining to each. The result of the research project was a functional online library environment that worked in the classrooms to support born-digital students' engagement with e-readers and findings of the way in which these both worked in the context of multiliteracies classrooms.

DOI 10.18352/lq.7977
Citations Scopus - 2
2008 Warwick C, Siemens R, Ruecker S, 'Codex redux: Books and new knowledge environments', International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Proceedings (2008)

1.In this paper, we present the work of the INKE (Implementing New Knowledge Environments) research group, a large international, interdisciplinary research team studying reading ... [more]

1.In this paper, we present the work of the INKE (Implementing New Knowledge Environments) research group, a large international, interdisciplinary research team studying reading and texts, both digital and printed. The INKE team is comprised of researchers and stakeholders at the forefronts of fields relating to textual studies, user experience, interface design, and information management. We aim to contribute to the development of new digital information and knowledge environments that build on past textual practices. We discuss our research questions, methods, aims and research objectives, the rationale behind our work and its expected significance. Copyright 2008 ACM.

DOI 10.1145/1458412.1458422
Citations Scopus - 1
Edit

Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 1
Total funding $20,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20201 grants / $20,000

Faculty funding for external engagement in 2020 - Centre for 21st Century Humanities$20,000

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Dr J McIntyre (Director); Dr K Ariotti; Dr G Arrighi; Dr H Askland; Dr J Coffey; A/Prof N Cushing; E/Prof H Craig; Prof R Siemens et al

Scheme Faculty funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2020
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N
Edit

News

Major research grant supports new open scholarship initiative

August 7, 2020

A new, interdisciplinary seven-year project seeks to overcome open scholarship challenges and is being led by Global Innovation Chair in Digital Humanities at the University of Newcastle Professor Ray Siemens, a member of the Newcastle’s Centre for 21st Century Humanities.

Cancelled digital humanities conference goes online to great success

May 14, 2020

When COVID-19 restrictions meant the Renaissance Society of America (RSA) conference in April was cancelled, members of the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) at the University of Victoria, Canada, created a virtual conference instead so that papers could still be presented and discussed.

Humanities researchers discuss open scholarship at a recent forum

September 13, 2019

The Centre for 21st Century Humanities recently hosted a forum where discussion centered on the benefits of, and challenges to open scholarship.

Professor Ray Siemens

Position

Global Innovation Chair - Digital Humanities
Office PVC - Human and Social Futures
College of Human and Social Futures

Contact Details

Email ray.siemens@newcastle.edu.au
Edit